Sodexo, Walla Walla University’s food services provider, offers students the opportunity to purchase a green, reusable take out box instead of the single-use, disposable boxes as of fall quarter 2021. Michael Benca, the Sodexo general manager, says that WWU Sodexo is calling this new initiative the Green Wolf Program.
The system is now very streamlined: students purchase a durable green box and take food back to their dorm; then they can bring the container back and exchange it for a clean one or get a Sodexo carabiner to exchange for a box later; then Sodexo employees wash the container so it can be given to another student.
Although many students have embraced the new green boxes, Benca acknowledges that some students, particularly upperclassmen, are unhappy that they can no longer take multiple containers of food at no extra charge. However, to remedy this, employees will give students with green boxes double and sometimes triple the portions of food that are given to those not getting takeout. Additionally, students have the opportunity to invest in two boxes to take even more food.
According to Benca, buying the old disposable containers cost Sodexo $30,000 to $40,000 a year, and the bulky containers quickly filled dumpsters. To remedy this problem, Sodexo invested approximately $5,000 in the reusable containers. Although Sodexo employees must now spend extra time washing the containers, Benca says that his “team has invested gleefully, gladly, into the program because of the benefit it is to being a green initiative.”
Sodexo practices many other green programs such as limited use of water, reusing their food into different dishes, donating used food products to the local soup kitchen, and supporting Eden’s Pantry, which is a program that provides free food to students.
Sodexo is not only invested in the environment but in the students. Benca says that he welcomes conversations with students: “That’s what I'm here for,” he says, “It’s all about making your campus life better.”
Posted on Nov. 11, 2021